I enjoy conversing with my readers. These are the letters you folks have been writing in since I started this website, along with my very wordiest answers. Enjoy!
If you want to ask a question now, please come join us in the FORUM.
Hey Mark, This was so unbelievable that I just had to tell you. I
ordered your book "Tender" but it didn't come so I forgot about it.
Chances are it was an Out Of Print problem that's all. I was sad.
Remember me telling you that I will read your book again? Well, It was
my birthday today. I went to the mailbox and guess what was there: A
Ballantine paperback first edition of "Tender". The bind is not broken.
But wait there's more. When I opened the package using my scissors with
the blue handles, I was surprised because I didn't recognize the cover.
The red car on the front was new to me. I turned the first two pages
only to discover, you autographed it! Wow! Someone must be smiling down
on me. I know this wasn't your doing but I like the way it turned out
anyway. However this came to be, I say thank you very much. Chris Caldon
Hey Chris, Happy Birthday to you! Well, I hope the book lives up to
your re-reading expectations since you went to so much trouble to get
it. A note to readers: ALL MY NOVELS ARE IN PRINT. (The children's
books, no.) If a bookstore tells you it's out of print, they mean their
distributor doesn't carry it. But all of them are most definitely in
print. You can order any of my books on the "Buy my books" page of this
website. Chris, thanks again for reading and writing in. Cheers, Mark C.
Mark, I finished "One Mississippi" last night and it's been with me all
day. I don't know where to begin - what a fantastic, absolutely
wonderful book that is! There's so much to say about the story, the
characters, the era (I lived through those years and remember it all),
the drama, the humor, all of it.
But what I am most enthralled with is the writing. I've worked with you
at workshops twice now at Squaw and listening to you talk about writing
and then reading your work gave me a thrill beyond words really - I
just don't have the vocabulary at the moment to describe how I felt
reading this book.
There were sentences that were so marvelous I'd have to read them over
again and just sit with them, amazed at how you took a string of words
and brought them to life in such an incredible way. I'm so jealous -
that much I can tell you for sure. I want to write with life like that.
I want my words to jump off the page and create a hologram in my room
the way your words did for me. I saw things so clearly when you
described them, the detail and imagery was amazing.
Ok, I'm gushing now. But what can I say? I loved this book. Not just
for the marvelous story but for the wonderful writing. You are truly
gifted. And I know the work involved. I know the hours of clacking on
the keyboard it took to get this novel written, which inspires me all
I am encouraging everyone to read this book. And if you didnt live
through the 70's relish reading this, because it really gives you a
wonderful taste of that era. And be a close reader, let those sentences
wash over you - taste them, delight in them! Thanks Mark. Keep
writing!!! Claudia Errington
Dear Claudia, Thank you so much for your incredibly generous letter.
That book took me eight years to write ... and when I get a letter like
yours, it makes it all seem worthwhile. Best of luck with your own work
- and I hope I'll be seeing you up at SCVW again soon. Cheers, Mark C.
Hello Mark, first of all I wanted to ask you a question. It may be a
stupid question but I'll ask anyway, what is "Georgia Bottoms" about? I
just get tickled saying that. lol. :-) You could do a book for every
state in the union. They all have them you know. (smile)
With that said:This year is 2009 and it's been a long time since I've
read the book "Tender". It left a lasting impression on my soul. It is
a book I will never forget. At one point, while reading your book, I
had to sit it down because it made me cry. You stirred up feelings I
didn't know were there. Mark you have left your literary footprint on
the world with "Tender". I'm baffled as to why it hasn't been made into
a movie. Now that the movie "Ray" was such a success, it leaves
everything wide open for "Tender". According the internet, the book is
out of print. When a book is as good as "Tender" it doesn't matter if
it's in print or not. That's how you know when you have a good one. I'm
going to read your book again because I want to see the world from your
characters eyes. I want to feel what he feels, all over again. Chris
Dear Chris, Thanks so much for writing to me. There are no stupid
questions, only stupid Republicans. I just made that one up. Anyway,
I'm glad the title tickled you ... it's just a working title and may
change. I am very superstitious about talking about a novel while I am
writing it. It colors it, somehow, to discuss in public. I am delighted
you liked "Tender." It was a wonderful book to write, although I
confess that I played Elvis' music for more than two years straight and
it kind of put me off it for awhile. Not sure why Hollywood didn't pick
that one up, but tomorrow, as the lady says, is another day. Thanks for
reading, and writing in. Cheers, Mark C.
Hiya! Remember me? You might remember me better as "magicmardi" . As
you might remember, I always intended to move to New Orleans for
awhile......well, that never happened.....a day before I was suppose to
leave, my son was diagnosed with the big "C". No worries....That was a
year ago and now he has finished his treatments and is absolutely fine
now and very involved with The Lance Armstrong Foundation. At any rate,
I am visiting NOLA again in about 2 weeks....I can't ever stay away for
too long. I am so happy about your new book...can't wait!! Just joined
your Facebook page, too. Wanted to let you know that you have inspired
me to write my own novel!!! I have 14 chapters down (first draft) and
I'm enjoying the process. Murder, mayhem and a bit of romance.... It
might be just crapola fiction or ??? (I picture Brad Pitt playing
Lafitte in the movie, and joining me when Oprah chooses my bestselling
novel for her bookclub!) Thanks for the inspiration!
Dear Mardi, Hi and thanks for catching me up on all your news! I am
sorry to hear your son went through that, but delighted he is better
now. Also tickled to know I helped inspire you to write fiction. Glad
you're having fun and I am wishing you the very best of luck with it.
Hope you got to visit New Orleans ... I spent the month of Feb. there,
away from my home computer, which is why it has taken me awhile to add
your letter to the page. Keep writing! cheers, Mark C.
Hi Mark, As an African-American with roots in Mississippi who is
currently reading your novel One Mississippi, I thought you might find
this interesting( if you hadn't already heard about it). While watching
CNN on MLK day I saw a segment about this film.
This film/documentary premiered at the Sundance film festival this
year. The film is about a school in Mississippi that just recently had
its first integrated prom. Sincerely, Brikti W.
Dear Brikti, Thanks very much for writing to me and letting me know
about the film. I'll try to get hold of a copy and take a look. I find
it amazing and appalling that there are still high schools in
Mississippi that have segregated proms, thirty years after the events I
was writing about in "One Mississippi." But I suppose I shouldn't be
surprised. Anyway thanks a lot for reading and for letting me know
about this. Cheers, Mark C.
You are my favorite author!!!! I love Fannie Flagg too. I can identify
with both of you. I was born and raised in Alabama. Sometimes it does
make one feel like a "misfit" considering that we have our own language
and code of ethics that others don't understand.
"Crazy in Alabama" was my favorite book and I am watching the movie
tonight (for the 11th time) because my dear friends Bob and Enrique
from Orlando bought me the DVD for Christmas. (I don't think I could
survive without my gay best friends....they are more reliable than my
blood family ( I was raised by a female Nazi...seriously, my mother is
German and has been evil since my birth). LOL!!!
I too am a writer and have been told that my work is similar to yours
and Fannie's which is the biggest compliment on earth to me. Even Teddy
Zee of Paramount liked my first screenplay. He loved the "southern
thing" and pushed me to write more screenplays geared for southern
I just wanted to take a break from the movie right now to tell you how
much I appreciate your talent and how it has always moved me. Thank God
Have a very happy NEW YEAR!!!! Much gratitude...your big fan, Sylvia A.
Hi Sylvia, Thank you so much for writing and for your enthusiastic
reading. I am happy you like the movie, too ... and I wish you the very
best of luck with your own work. Cheers, Mark C.
I just finished "One Mississippi" last night, and immediately felt
compelled to write. Never has a book moved me so very much. James
Baldwin's "Giovanni's Room", which had previously been my all-time
favorite book, has just been replaced by yours. I have never laughed so
hard, cried so much, or felt more connected to a literary character
than the ones in your book. Thank you for a read that I simply couldn't
I was reading through some of the other letters on your website, and
someone else had asked if "One Mississippi" could ever potentially be
made into a film. That was my first thought after closing the book last
night, was "Wow, what a film that would make." I sincerely hope
something becomes of it.
I have to ask: if you were to continue the story, what do you think
became of "Skippy"? Even though he claims several times that him and
Tim were just friends, they certainly did -- at least in my
interpretation -- seem to behave like a "couple" despite Musgrove's
interest in Arnita. Does Daniel turn out to be gay? Does he ever
recover from the trauma he experienced inside Minor High?
The part of the book that I absolutely lost it and the tears came, was
Tim's final letter to Skippy -- specifically the line "I didn't want
three billion people, Skip. Just you. Love, T." I started to think
about how Skip not only had to recover from the emotional trauma of the
massacre, but also with facing life without Tim. What a strange paradox
to ponder. Seriously--it's driven me nuts all day.
I am an aspiring writer, currently working on my first book. I haven't
titled it yet, but it is about a young man in high school who falls in
love with a Baptist preacher's son -- and the mayhem that it brings.
Best wishes to you, and thanks again for writing such a marvelous book. I absolutely loved it. -- Dan. Lincoln, NE
Hey Dan, I love "Giovanni's Room" too and am greatly honored to be in
such esteemed company in your opinion. Thanks so much for really
getting into it. Your letter made my day. I will look forward to
reading your book one day, and trust you will keep me apprised of its
The questions you ask are excellent, and each of them has more than one
answer. But I think all the answers are there in the book, and that you
have happened upon several interesting ones. Part of what I was trying
to do in that book was work with different characters' versions of
events, so that you as a reader are challenged to decide whom to
believe. (Like life!)
As far as what happens to the characters after the story ... that is
again your choice as the reader to decide. I have given you clues to
what I think, but as Borges proved, the authorial voice is just one
opinion.... thanks again for your most generous reponse. Cheers, Mark C.
I am just about finished with Crazy in Alabama. I love this book. I
don't want it to end. I am actually NOT in a hurry to finish
it...Seriously, I don't want it to end. That's weird, huh?
Lucille kind of reminds me of me. Only I have no aspirations of killing
anyone to achieve goals, nor do I believe anyone stands in my way of
what I want. I do, however, believe I was destined for fame for some
reason. I just am a little perplexed as to how someone goes from here
to HOLLYWOOD! Fascinating to me are glitzy types, royals, and of
course, the Kennedy family. Perhaps I'm yearning for what I had in
Oh well. I did have one particular question, and it's not even about
Lucille. It's about the speech from Martin Luther King. Now, as a
writer, did you create that speech based on the time frame this was
written about? Or did you use some/all of a speech he actually gave. I
guess I could google it, but it would be much more interesting to hear
it from you.
I lived in Birmingham for about 7 years after graduating college (ECU.)
I majored in English, recieved a Bachelor's. I tell everyone I did
my"growing up" in Birmingham I was actually raised in the Outer Banks
area of NC. I had to grow up once I got to B'ham. I was 12 hours away
from home and knew nobody! I miss that place. I always tell folks, in
my humble opinion, that it's the country's best kept secret. Seriously,
Birmingham is a GREAT place to live.
Anyway, before I start rambling, I probably need to get going. Please write back when you get a moment.
I have added you on MySpace. My profile is "Gimme Those Grapes."
Take care :)
Hey Carla, Thanks for writing to me. I am tickled that you are enjoying
"Crazy" and that you are slowing down to make it last longer. (Used to
do that with Tootsie Pops). In answer to your question, I read a whole
book of MLK's magnificent speeches and then wrote my own. I know that's
a pretentious thing to do, but his speech had to fit the particulars of
my (fictional) town, so I wanted to do it right! Again, thanks for
reading. Cheers, Mark C.
Dear Mark, I thoroughly enjoyed your books and look forward to reading
the new one when you finish. As an Arkansan I can relate to the
Southern writing and the time periods. They are hilarious. I also
recommend them to everyone that wants a good book. Kathleen Wallace
Dear Kathleen, Thank you so much for writing in, and for reading my
work. I really do enjoy hearing from my readers. I have spent a bit of
time in Arkansas - there were some Childress cousins who lived in the
south central part of the state - and can assure other readers that it
is every bit as Southern as Alabama, and in much the same ways. Thanks
again for your kind words. Cheers, Mark C.
Dear Mark, I am so impressed you have a place where I can send an email
to you...let alone you answer it...bonus! I recently purchased Crazy in
Alabama on tape after it was retired from our local library. I am a
huge book on tape/cd fan and may I say just how wonderful it is that
you read this yourself. Thank you =D I love your reading (and very much
writing) style. I enjoyed listening to your book in my car. I couldn't
wait each day to drive and hear another juicy tidbit of this story. I
am thrilled you wrote the screen play for the movie and I can't wait to
rent the film. Most of all I am excited to find a new author to enjoy
in my journey. Your writing puts me right in with the characters in the
story. For example, I too was a kid in the 60's and remember the
evening news with Walter Cronkite and all that was happening in the
south, George Wallace making speeches, MLK and RFK being slain...it was
a crazy time for our country. I appreciate that you put such vivid
detail in and captured a moment of that particular time of craziness in
your book. A tidbit of my life at that time...I remember being 12 and
talking to my Mom about a "colored" friend I was in band with. I said,
"I like Joselyn as my friend" and my Mom said, "she is a sweet girl"
and I asked "but she can't come spend the night at our house can she?"
and she said "No, she can't." It's like it was understood that the
whites lived on one part of town and the blacks lived in another and
only the 2 shall meet at school, or band in my case. Seems unthinkable
that even occurred now-a-days. Thanks Mark, I look forward to enjoying
your other books. Karen J., Bradenton, Florida
Hey Karen, Thanks so much for writing to me, and for listening to me. I
was delighted when Harper Audio asked me to do the (abridged) audio of
"Crazy," and I was not so delighted when they selected an actor to
record the unabridged version without even asking me. It seems that the
fashion in audio these days is for experienced audio actors to do the
readings, rather than the author. I'm really glad that "Crazy" rang a
bell with you and resonated with your own experiences at that time.
Your Mom probably felt the restrictions were wrong, too … but it was
hard for individuals to rebel against a whole society's ways. For me,
the character of Uncle Dove represents all those Good White People who
went along with our apartheid system because, as he says, "it ain't
fair. It's just the way things are." Thank God there were people who
stood up against it. Anyway, thanks again for writing, and for reading
(listening). Cheers, Mark C.
Hi Mark, This is your fellow Arrow, Linda McLemore. Carol and I both
now live in Edmond, OK. We were looking through the Clinton High School
Alumni webpage and came across the FAMOUS ARROWS page. We already knew
you were famous, but I did not know about Wyatt. It is really great to
see how well you and Wyatt Waters are doing!
Well, hey Linda! It is certainly great to hear a voice from the past.
Thank you so much for writing in. I don't know about "famous," but I am
certainly delighted to be included on that webpage with such talented
Arrows as Lance Bass, Barry Hannah, and our own Wyatt Waters! If you
write in again let me know how you settled in Edmond, which is a long
way from Missippi. Send a hug to Carol and one for you, too. Cheers,
Hey Mark... I wrote you once before about getting started in
writing... I did get into SCAD in Atlanta... But I was diagnosed with
lymes disease..well I am still writting...I have taken some classes at
Emory..but when I loved in NYC and LA i really got the writing bug...
What my idea is well...its really something great... its basically
about the girls in atlanta..we call them the Buckhead Betty's..they are
a life of their own..but i have the inside scoop to their upper class
life...basically not so perfect..but I think that the book I want to
write would be fantastic!!! And I have a great title... I would really
like for you to give me some tips on researching and bascially starting
it... If you could I wouls really be so thankful... but you may
remember my grandfather Ted Childress... our family is from Bama and
Indiana...but again...I would be so thankful for your input!
Hey Robin, Thanks for writing in. I don't really have any advice on
that, but I would recommend you read Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird" and
also get a book called "The Writer's Market," which has lots of great
information about how to get started. I don't actually recognize the
names of the folks in your family - there are more Childresses
scattered around than you would believe! But it's always nice to hear
from another one. Good luck with your book. Cheers, Mark C.
Hi Mark! Love your books! My husband and I met you at the Cullman
library a little over a year ago- I was the very pregnant lady in the
first row. I have always enjoyed your books, because I grew up in a
funeral home, was a tour guide at Sun Records in Memphis, and grew up
in Mississippi. You autographed "One Mississippi" for us to give to our
Moms on Mother's Day. Both of them loved the book. The main reason I'm
dropping you a line today is to give you a link to a story in the
Memphis Commercial Appeal. The story is about allegations of racism in
Monroeville. I thought you may want to check it out, and I hope the
link works. Keep up the great work, we're in the process of getting all
your kids' books for the little girl, who was born not long after you
stopped in Cullman. Thanks again for everything, Mark - Sincerely,
Hey Dallas, So nice of you to write. I really enjoyed that rainy/sunny
Sunday in Cullman. I was surprised by the size of the crowd and ...
well, not surprised, but awfully pleased how hospitable everybody was.
I'm glad my writing has impacted you in some personal ways and I really
appreciate your giving my book to your moms. Also, congratulations on
the birth of the baby girl. As to this lawsuit in Monroeville, all I
know is what I read ... and although I agree that such allegations will
automatically get more attention in Monroeville than elsewhere, I hope
the courts will tell us who's telling the truth here. If there's any
lesson we can take from Miss Lee's book, it is that we should reserve
judgment until we understand the facts. Racism still exists everywhere,
including and maybe even especially in Alabama ... how could it not?
Still, I also know that there are generally at least two sides to every
story. Cheers, Mark C.
Hi Mark, you probably don't remember me but I was the sports editor of
the Clinton High School paper, the "Target" during the 1972-73 school
year. I remember you being in my Journalism class with Judy O'Neal and
wanted to congratulate you on your literary success. I came across your
name on the CHS Alumni Association website and thought I'd leave you a
note. Always glad to see former Arrows doing so well! Regards, Nash
Nunnery, Class of '73
Hey Nash, Always good to hear from a former Arrow! I do remember you
... but I didn't take Journalism at CHS. I took senior English from
Judy O'Neal. Maybe that's the class you remember? I thought my brother
Alan took Journalism and was on the staff of the Target, but he reminds
me that he was too busy founding the award-winning "Skyline Weekly
Star," a small-circulation weekly that was very influential. At least
if you lived on our street. You'll be glad to know he's a law professor
who has continued his flirtation with a journalism career with an
excellent blog on legal-professional issues. I will post a link in my
link-list at right ... Thanks for your congrats and for writing in -
cheers! Mark C.
hey mark - was just browsing your website here after finishing "one
mississippi". i moved to southern louisiana from germany about a year
ago. and i just felt like writing you that moving and living down here
was/is indeed an exprience. :-) reading your novel it was nice to read
that other "people" apparently feel that way, too. every time my father
would call from overseas this past week i'd let him know what was going
on in daniel musgrove's life as we spoke. my father is now reading
"abgebrannt in mississippi". :-) great book but i'm sure you know that
already! - julia
Hi Mark, I am in the process of glancing through back issue magazines
and happened onto your article "Our Traveling Christmas" in the '92
Southern Living. Several things caught my interest: Your home state of
Ohio, your road trips as a child that so reminded me of our own family
trips, and then finaly, your name. By any chance did you attend East
Dayton Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio? Our family did untill we moved
to Florida in 1971. I would have graduated from Beavercreek H.S. in
1974. I feel like I knew you many moons ago. I'd love to hear from you
if any of this jives with you. And last but not least, I really enjoyed
reading of your childhood memories! Sincerely, Kim Linn (Coyle)
Hi Kim, Thanks for writing in. I'm glad you enjoyed that piece of
nostalgia. I don't think that's me you're thinking of - we lived in
Kettering and attended a Presbyterian church in those days. But it
sounds as if we had a lot in common, and I'm happy to know I touched a
chord. Cheers, Mark C.
Hello, I'm a teenager who had 'One Mississipi' recommended to her and
even though it's over 30 years since the book was set, you've really
captured exactly what high school is. It was an amazingly beautiful
book and I really felt as if I knew Tim.
Hi Anon, Thanks so much for writing. Naturally I am happy that people
want to read my book - but especially happy when a teenager reads and
likes it. I was hoping this would be one of those books that would
appeal across generational lines. Sad to note that high school hasn't
changed that much in the vast amount of time I've been out of it. But
again, thanks so much for reading, and writing to me - your words mean
a lot. Cheers, Mark C.
Hi Mark, I am currently just about to finish your book .... One
Mississippi. Never read anything of yours before. Thoroughly enjoying
it. I will continue to look for your books. I didn't know what I was
missing. You get asked a lot I'm sure but I was wondering if I could
get your autograph. I'm a new fan. Thank you very much. Michael Conklin
Hey Michael, I'm delighted you are enjoying the book and I thank you
for reading it. As you can see, there are plenty of other books I've
written to keep you busy, if you feel so moved. If you'd like that
autograph, send me an email (see the "email me" link to the right) and
I will send you an address to send the self-addressed, stamped envelope
in which I'll send you your autograph. Thanks! Best, Mark C.
Having seen the screen production of "Crazy in Alabama," I was
intrigued by the story enough to pick up your book when I ran across it
in the bookstore and thumb through the first couple of pages. If
mentioned in the film, I missed its beginning being set in Pigeon
Creek, Alabama. Though somewhat obscure, this is an important place in
our family history. I believe they enjoyed some prominence in the
community, back when there was one. We still gather there at Sardis
Baptist Church, almost the only remaining structure, every Mothers Day
since about 1954. You can see a picture of this place as well as some
of our family history on the website at
http://web.infoave.net/~danshell/surnames.htm. I have been curious
since seeing your book about how and why you chose "Pigeon Creek" for
the initial setting in your story. I've had the same questions about
the film "Sweet Home Alabama," set almost entirely in Pigeon Creek,
although obviously not filmed there. I even wondered if they got the
idea from you. I'd appreciate any answer you can offer. I can only
offer an invitation to a great traditional dinner on the grounds,
complete with fried chicken, sweet tea, and shade trees. Come any
Mothers Day about 11:00! Thanks, Dan Shell
Hey Dan, Thanks for writing. It's always nice to hear from home folks.
When "Crazy in Alabama" came out I heard from a lot of folks in the
real "Industry," which I believe is in the same part of Butler County
as your community of Pigeon Creek. I confess to wondering the same
thing when "Sweet Home Alabama" came out and pondered if it was meant
as an homage to my book. (Or not!) My grandmother's place was in the
more northern part of the county, between Greenville and Ft. Deposit,
fairly near the community of Spring Creek, but between two of the top
forks of Pigeon Creek itself, so in our family the area was always
called "Pigeon Creek." Thanks for the invite to dinner-on-the-ground
... if I find myself in your neighborhood on Mother's Day I could
definitely use some of that sweet tea. Cheers, Mark C.
I just finished "One Mississippi" Your writing style is awesome. I
loved the book except for one thing: (spoiler) Karen in Boston
Dear Karen, Thanks for writing in. I removed part of your question
because it is a "spoiler" for those who haven't read the book yet. In
answer to your question, there are more of "those characters" than just
two ... but you do have to read between the lines. Cheers, Mark C.
Hi, I'm glad you took out part of the question. I wasn't thinking about
spoiling part of the book. I did enjoy reading the story. The book was
passed along to me by one of my co-workers. We have the same taste in
books. Yes, there are more of those types of characters. The 2 that I
mentioned totally jumped out at me. Thank you for answering my
concerns. :) Karen in Boston
Hey Karen, I would just add that if any fault is laid on anything for
the events in the story, it is less with any of these individuals and
maybe more with the repressiveness of the society in which they live.
In other words, their lack of freedom forces them to desperate
measures. Thanks again for reading, and writing in. Cheers, Mark C.
Hi Mark, Just wanted to let you know that One Mississippi has now
replaced Crazy in Alabama as my favorite book of all time. I actually
listened to the audiobook of One Mississippi and I just want to say
what an amazing job narrator Jeff Woodman did. He is absolutely the
voice of Daniel Musgrove. I loved it and didn't want it to end. Oh, and
one more thing, Mark. Are there any plans for a movie for One
Mississippi? Louise, in Memphis.
Hey Louise, Nice to hear from a Memphian. (I have loved Memphis since I
wrote Tender.)) Thank you so much for writing me. SO many people have
said "Well, Crazy in Alabama is still my favorite" so I am delighted to
hear you say you like the newer one more. One does like to hope that
one is improving. I agree with you about Jeff's reading. I have my own
plans to make a movie of One Mississippi but so far no one in Hollywood
has shared them with me. Cheers, Mark C.
Get back to your redroom.com blog! xoxoxo expat princess
Hey, Expat Princess, I really appreciate the sentiment but I am so busy
with the new novel that I just lost the will to post over there. I
imagine I will have more to say if we can ever get this Dem nomination
sorted out. Thanks, Mark C.
Hello, I'm a teacher and I doubt that this message will actually be
received by you. For whom ever is listening. I would like to use this
movie as an educational tool, not just for desegregation, but linking
it to social darwinism and the desensitizations of individuals; such as
the homeless and the poor. However, unfortunately, they are the same
focus and being segregated from education today due to NCLB. As much as
I love Melanie Griffith, I was hoping that I could get a condensed
version focusing on the boycott at the pool, the funeral march,
memorial at the pool, and the father and lucille in jail. As a teacher,
I have never seen another movie that is equally motivated by protecting
family on two very separate issues. Both are actually linked by the
creation of two separate amendments for freedom and one shared by
rights that, as of yet, have not gained equality in education or social
worth. I have actually never asked for something like before. Thank you
for reading this. Don't worry about responding. I'm a teacher so I'll
make due. Karen
Dear Karen, Hey, thanks for writing. And believe it or not, I do read
and answer all the comments on this site, although it sometimes takes
me a few days. I am delighted that you like "Crazy in Alabama" and want
to use it as a teaching tool. I can see that would be an interesting
class, because you have some good points to make, and I think it's
interesting you can relate it to other issues today. There isn't
actually a "condensed version" as you mention, but it would be very
easy thanks to the miracle of DVD (which has "chapter breaks") for you
to create your own. All you'd have to do is screen just those scenes
dealing with the issues you raise, skipping between chapters on your
remote. If you try this experiment, do write me back and let me know
how it went. And once again, thank you for reading. Cheers, Mark C.
Hi Mark, I run a book discussion at my local library, have been doing
so for a few years now. We are planning to read "One Mississippi" in
June or July and I was wondering if you would be interested in joining
us in a discussion via phone with us? I love your novels and I think it
would be a fun, and wonderful to hear it "straight from the horses
mouth" how, what, and why! Would love to hear back from you, and keep
up the great work! Maria Pia
Hi Maria, I am very happy to talk with book groups ... I've learned a
lot about my books from those discussions. I'll contact you at the
email address you provided, and hope we can work out a date. And
thanks! Cheers, Mark C.
Hi Mark, Just finished One Mississippi, it was hilarious. Great job. As
a teen growing up in the seventies I can definitely relate. Looking
forward to reading your other stuff. Keep up the good work. Maria
Ciletti Niles, Ohio www.mariaciletti.com
Hi Maria, Thanks for reading the book and for writing in to tell me
about it. I've been very pleased that people with disparate high school
experiences find a lot to relate to in my story. Keep reading! Cheers,
Hi Mark, Years ago you were signing books in Oxford, Alabama. Your
latest book at that time was "Gone for Good." Having read everything of
yours I could find at that time, I cherished my autographed copy. Then
I loaned it to a reliable friend. (I had several co-workers that I
trusted to return books) Months later I went looking for "Gone for
Good." I always re-read the good stuff. I couldn't find it. I couldn't
remember to whom I had loaned it. I decided it was truly "Gone for
Good..." Flash forward several years: I am sitting at my desk working
when C. walks in and hands me "Gone for Good." She said, "I was
cleaning my house and found this." I politely thanked her for returning
it. I no longer loan out autographed copies, too risky. Yes, I started
reading it again at lunch that day. Awesome. I loved it. I am waiting
for the movie version...nah, it couldn't be as good as the movie in my
head. Peace to you Gene Black http://www.geneblack.com
Hey Gene, I'm glad that the book came back to you. I put a moratorium
on loaning out books a few years ago for the reasons you cite here. As
a matter of fact, I found a few that I had borrowed and failed to
return, too. So now, if a friend covets a book of mine, I order them up
a copy and keep mine - that way they win, I win, and the author wins!
Anyway I am tickled that you like "Gone for Good," as it is not
appreciated that widely but is one of my own favorites. Thanks again
for writing me. Cheers, Mark C.
Hi Mark. We hosted your Crazy event at the Alabama Theater. Hope we can
be in touch. Still loving your work and want to catch up. Cheers, Pat
Hey Pat, I had such a wonderful time at that event. It was truly an
unforgettable night. My family and I often check out the pictures of
ourselves riding in all those cool vintage convertibles and can hardly
believe it really happened. Anyway, thanks for what you did back then,
and for reading along. Hope our paths will cross soon. Cheers, Mark C.
Hello Mark, I was born in Monroeville, Alabama too. On April 24, 1957.
I am a relative of Cynthia Tucker and Marva Collins. I have since moved
many times and now have a Master's in Nursing. At one time I even
taught at Kent State University. Now, I know we have nothing in common
but I was wondering if you were born in the old Monroe County Hospital
like I was and on what date. Great works by the way, Jacquelyn
Hey Jacquelyn, Thank you so much for writing to me. Always nice to meet
kin of two of the women I most admire - Ms. Tucker and Ms. Collins. Let
me say that I admire your works, too ... nurses are the unsung heroes
of our society. They do almost everything doctors do, backwards and in
white heels! So in fact we do have something in common - we like
nurses. Now, the truth is that you did warm up that birthin' cradle at
the old Monroe Co. Hospital, and I was born in the same year as you, on
September 21. Thanks for reading and I hope our paths will cross
sometime. Cheers, Mark C.
Hey Mark, Here's a story for you. I lived across the street from you
when you were very young--one of the McBrooms. Our dog, Trudy, had
thirteen puppies (two of them died at birth) and we gave them away to
lots of people. One of those people was Mollie McSherry, from San Rae
Drive,one of your friends. I met Mollie in Milford, Ohio when our kids
started dating. My son, Shawn Ford, was a soccer player, and Mollie's
daughter, Megan, also played soccer and stayed after her game to see
Shawn play. Mollie and I hung out together at the games. One day, we
were talking about our past and our dogs, and Mollie said that her
first dog was a basset/collie mix. I said,"Wow, that's wierd, we had a
basset hound that was impregnated by a collie. Boy were those puppies
cute!" I said, "Hey, you grew up in Dayton, right?" and we looked at
each other and she said, "Yes, my parents were friends with some people
in Kettering and we were over there and the family across the street
had puppies, so we went over to look at them." Mollie remembers the
girls with the blonde hair and tells me about that. And then, we look
at each other and she says, "Yeah, we were visiting the Childresses..."
and I interrupted, "You mean Rory, Mark and Alan?" and we couldn't
believe it! Mollie had gotten one of our puppies, oh those many years
ago! Anyway, boy did the memories start flowing. I remember you and
your brothers and how we used to play "house" in your garage. Rory and
I were the parents, and you and Gail were the kids, and Alan and my
brother Brian were the "pets". We had so much fun when we were kids, I
really feel lucky to have had such a great childhood. Well, this is a
shot in the dark to talk to you, but Mollie and I are still great
friends and we now and then talk about this odd event. Tonight we
"googled" your name and, well it was Mollie's idea, and we hope some
day we can get together and close the loop. I'm Chris McBroom. My Mom
and Dad, Jeanette and Grant McBroom are still around and I have told
them about the strange connection our families have. Mollie and I live
in Milford, Ohio. I bet you remember us too. Mollie has a photo of
herself and you with your birthday crowns on, sitting on a picnic
table. We look forward to hearing from you! Chris and Mollie
Well hey, Chris, hey Mollie. This is indeed a blast from the past. Of
course I remember you all. Would love to exchange an email with you --
please click on the "Email me" link in the column of links to the
right, and tell me how to write you back. Cheers, Mark C.
Hi Mark, My wife and I are a couple of northerners who throughly
enjoyed "One Mississippi". I just finished "Crazy in Alabama" and was
blown away by your description and wicked humor. I was so moved, I
might mow with protective lenses this summer. A couple of questions, if
I may: *Regarding One Mississippi, has Cher contacted you about your
portrayal of her (amd Sonny Bono) and were you worried she may not
approve? *In Crazy in Alabama, do you mind shedding some light on what
happened to the cop that Lucille left behind? Scott Goldstein Haddon
Heights, New Jersey
Hi Scott, I am glad that as self-declared Yankees you were able to get
through these Southern tomes. I think those lenses are an excellent
idea. As to your question #1, no, haven't heard a word from Cher,
although I thought I might after the NYTimes ran an illustration with
their review of her smoking a big ol' fatty. Not a word! And I didn't
worry about her approval. She is a public figure and thus considered
fair game for fictional portrayals. (I thought she came off rather
well; I love her just like Daniel, by the way.) As for question #2:
like all the intentionally unanswered questions in all my books, I have
to leave that to you, the reader, to decide. Whichever answer you
prefer is probably right. Cheers, Mark C.
Joshua and the Big Bad Blue Crabs is mine and my daughter's favorite
book to read at night time! I love reading it to her! Being born and
raised in the south it is so easy to lay on the southern drawl while
reading the book...it is so much fun! We really love your books and
can't wait for you to do more children's books. Of course I love your
adult fiction as well...but to me Joshua takes the pie:;) Thanks! Niki
Well I am just delighted to know that you and your daughter are
enjoying that very crabby tale. Its prequel, "Joshua and Bigtooth,"
might appeal to you too ... it's out of print now, but you can find it
at alibris.com and other used-book outlets. Thanks so much for writing
in. Cheers, Mark C.
I just finished "One Mississippi" It was so wonderful! I ordered every
one of your books I could from the library! I just started "Tender"
Keep the books rolling. New fan- Dana
Dear Dana, Thanks so much for reading it, and I am glad you liked it.
Let me know what you think about the others. Cheers, Mark C.
Mark - 1975 Clinton graduate. I'm reading One Mississippi now and am
really enjoying it. It's nice recognizing places from high school days
and people we both attended high school with. Mark Gentry
Hey Mark, It is always great to hear from a fellow Marching Arrow. I'll
look forward to hearing what you think about the book when you're
through. I have definitively learned that CHS grads prefer paperbacks,
because I have heard from a TON of classmates since the p'back came
out. Cheers, Mark C.
I wrote a song about Rockin Dopsy! how do i find his web site &
contact him? Thanks, Bruce re; Rockin Dopsy tune please contact me by
Hi Bruce, Hey sorry but although I admire the work of Rockin' Dopsy I
have not one better idea than you how to go about finding him. I would
suggest Google but I guess you've already been there...Anyway good luck
and let me know if you find him. Cheers, Mark C.
Hey Mark - 1979 Clinton graduate. Love the books! Sharon
Howdy Sharon, Always great to hear from another Arrow. I really
appreciate your reading and writing in to tell me about it. I hope our
paths will cross next time I'm in town. Thanks. Cheers, Mark C.
Mark, hope your holiday season is keeping you away from this site.
Oddly, I was buzzin' around looking for a different destination when I
thought of CR. Know you spent time there, and was curious as to your
take on the region best suited to a gringo wanting to spend a month or
so. Got your book, saving it for a rainy day. Peace, jack smith
Hey, Jack, Well, the Costa Rica that I knew and loved has been overrun
by gringos like myself. But if you get off the beaten track you can
still find the pura vida. If I were you, I would pick a small beach
town on the Pacific side and do day trips to the rest of the countyr
from there. Check out "Gone for Good" while lying in a hammock; that is
state dependent fiction. I envy you the thought of that month....
Cheers, Mark C.
Hi Mark, I was checking out vacation ideas in Ecuador, which led to
thoughts of Panama, and then on to Costa Rica. How are you? Raad and I
have been in Pensacola since 2000. I got back into the news biz, then
left July 2006 to go out on my own. Would love to establish contact
with you. Here's the link to my website:
www.karenacawthonphotographer.com. Would love to hear from you! Karena
Hey Darlin, Great to hear from you, I've been wondering where you at.
Will contact you when I'm back from this trip. Cheers, Mark C.
hey i'm desperate to get hold of one mississippi and live in the uk.
please please please could you tell me where i can buy it from. with
Howdy, So sorry you've been driven to the desperate edge of reason. Try
That should help you - let me know what you think about the book. Cheers, Mark C.
Just read Crazy in Alabama and really liked it, overall. There is a lot
of wit and charm and you really nailed the whole Southern theme. The
only thing hard to swallow was Lucille carrying around a severed head,
all for shock value--a bit over the top, if you don't mind me saying
so. A good yarn, otherwise. Best, David P.
Hey David, Glad you read and liked it. If you'd met some of the fans of
this book I've met on book tours, you might not find Lucille's actions
all that far-fetched. (Besides, if the head had ever shut up, she might
have left it behind.) Thanks for reading! Cheers, Mark C.
Mark, Just ordered "One Mississippi." We have all the others including
the Joshua books for the kids. My fave is still the first--love that
magically realism. Speaking of kids... our darling girl happens to be a
third year at UVa! How interesting to learn that Hoke is working there.
You may not remember Joy but she remembers the crazy man who drew all
over her 8 year old hand at a bookstore in Montgomery (Charles' book
tour). Sending our best. Kathy (and Ralph) from the T'Town Days
Hi Kathy, The coolest thing about this website is hearing from old
friends. Hey! As we used to say down there in Tuscaloosa.
Congratulations on having a girl old enough to be acing 'em up in
Charlottesville! Now was it Charles who drew on Joy's hand? Anyway,
great to hear from you ... football season definitely makes me feel a
bit nostalgic for those great weekends and the parties and all the
friends. Stay in touch! All best, Mark C.
Hey Mark, I had to read Crazy in Alabama for a class at school and just
finished it. It was great! I've never read the book but I have seen
parts of the movie, even though it's been a while. Anyway, I wanted to
tell you that you did a great job with the book. :)
Hey Anon! Thank you for writing in, and for suffering through your
teacher's assignment. Would you please your teacher how much I
appreciate she or he assigning my book to your class? So glad you liked
it - let me know what you think of 'em, if you check out any of the
other books. Cheers, Mark C.
I was lucky enough to see you at this years' (07)Alabama Bound. I
thoroughly enjoyed listening to speak. And it was a neat moment when I
was able see you read from One Mississippi. I was so into the story - I
did not want you to stop reading. I am embarassed to say that I wanted
to speak to you but the friend I was with convinced me that unless I
was buying your book you did not want to speak to "fans". Well, if I
had not listened - I would have said this - I love to read your
writings. You have an amazing gift, and a wonderful voice. I hope to
one day see some of my writings published. When I achieve that goal I
will take a cue from you and Fannie Flagg. I will embrace my
Southerness rather than apologize for it. You make me proud to be
Southern. Thank you for being "my" voice. Maggie Beth
Hey Maggie Beth, I'm sure that your friend meant well but I wish you
had followed your instinct and say Hey. Next time, promise me you'll
come up and say hello. I love to meet my readers. I don't care whether
you buy the book or not, honestly. I am just pleased if you read it. I
have had times when I couldn't afford many books and the library was my
absolute saving grace. (Luckily I now live near the Strand, a huge
bookstore in NYC with great selection of new and used.) Anyway, thank
you for coming to hear me. Oh, and as for our Southernness ... I can't
exactly say I'm proud of very much of the South's history, and though I
don't believe the current generation shares much of the guilt for the
system we were born into, I do feel for myself a positive
responsibility to keep addressing the questions of how our forebears
managed to set up such a cruel and inhumane system. Off the soapbox now
-- take care and see you next time - cheers, Mark C.